AfterElton.com gay mens reader’s hot 100 list vote Cheyenne Jackson as Number Four
While we harbor no illusions that landing in the top five of the AfterElton.com Hot 100 list can make up for his unjustly not receiving a Tony nomination for his hilarious turn as Sonny Malone in the Broadway musical Xanadu (both Ben Brantley and Christopher Isherwood of The New York Times named Jackson as the actor they believed should have been nominated), we do hope that this accolade softens the sting at least a little.
Like his Scottish counterpart John Barrowman, Cheyenne Jackson is foremost a musical entertainer. He first garnered widespread notice in 2004’s hit off-Broadway show Altar Boyz, and the following year his profile rose even higher when he originated the role of Chad in the Elvis Presley inspired musical All Shook Up. But it sky-rocketed last July when Cheyenne skated to the rescue of Xanadu by stepping into the skates of Sonny a week before the show was scheduled to debut after the original Sonny injured himself during rehearsals (Jackson was familiar with the role having played Sonny during workshops). Additionally, Jackson earned stellar reviews for his role in 2006’s United 93 where he played the openly gay Mark Bingham.
The 32-year-old Jackson is a very busy man frequently appearing in various readings of new works, singing in concerts, and making appearances on behalf of GLBT organizations including AMFAR and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. An avid dog lover, Cheyenne has also joined Bernadette Peters for her Broadway Barks campaign to help raise awareness concerning homeless animals.
Like Barrowman, Jackson is another actor with leading man looks (inherited in part from his Native American father) who chose to be out and proud when staying in the closet might have been the safer thing for his career. When we asked him last year what effect being out had on his career, Jackson said, “I think it’s been a detriment, probably just a little bit. Had I not been out and open, I think I might have gotten some movies that I screen-tested for. People may have said, ‘The dude’s gay; how are we going to market this?’ But it’s not an issue for me, because being out is very freeing.”
And might we add, sexy.